Book Review: Writer Mama: how to raise a writing career alongside your kids

Book Review: Writer Mama: how to raise a writing career alongside your kids

Have you ever thought about making a living as a writer?  That thought has been a constant companion of mine for the past 25 years.  Yes, 25 years, and it was just about exactly one year ago that I actually started doing something about it.writer mama by Christina Katz

Now with a little one on the way, I wondered if that dream would need to be postponed yet again.  I really shouldn’t be so quick to sacrifice my dreams yet again to cater to the needs of everyone else around me.  One of the things I most want to provide for my daughter is a good example.  I want my daughter to grow up looking up to a mother who is loving and kind and attentive, yes, but also self-actualized, intellectually stimulated, self-sufficient, engaging, happy, and living up to her potential.  I want to provide this example to my daughter because I wish these traits for her (in addition to the fact that I’m worth it, dammit).

Writer Mama, by Christina Katz, talks about how to get a writing career off the ground while you have small children in tow: start small while babies absorb so much of your attention and grow your business as your children gain greater degrees of independence and self-sufficiency.

Topics covered in the book include (among many others):

  • how to manage writing time around caring for children
  • how to deal with the “clips catch-22,” or how to get published if you’ve never been published
  • the business of writing: queries, article submissions, contracts, negotiations
  • managing your home and while managing your writing business
  • how to conduct interviews
  • editing and polishing your work

One of the hardest things to deal with for many who work from home, not just moms, is the fact that others tend to disrespect the time of the home worker.   When people pack up their briefcase and head off to the office, that work time is respected and to some extent, even sacred.  Those working from home seldom get the same respect unless they are very clear about setting their boundaries with others in advance.

Because of People Who Don’t Get It, if you are not good at setting boundaries with adults and children, you’re going to need to start practicing.  I suggest you start sooner rather than later. If you wait until you have a deadline looming to try to convince family members that your work matters and that you deserve support in gettting it done, you will be sorry (and probably late with your work too).

I’m really appreciating this book.  It is well organized so specific topical information is easy to find.  I suspect I will be consulting it regularly over the coming months and years.

FTC Disclosure: affiliate links were used in this post.

Time Management

Time Management

My dad had a theory, he called it the “Schwartz theory of gaseous expansion,” which stated the material in a room will always expand to fill the available space. No matter how big your room is, it will eventually feel cramped because there’s too much stuff in it.

I was thinking about that theory and how it could also be applied to time as I was out and about running errands with Mom. Now that I don’t have a regular 9-5 job, I theoretically have more available time. I’ve been in this position before and I remember noting the same occurrence – when you have more free time, your chores expand to fill your available time. It took ALL DAY yesterday to get the phone, cable and internet set up for mom.

There is no such thing as free time.


Hi, I’m Judy Haley. Coffeejitters is my personal blog.

I have another blog, Dauntless Pen, that follows my quest to become a published writer.

Here’s a little more about me:

– I grew up in Alaska.
– I have four little brothers. Yes, I was the oldest and the only girl. I couldn’t beat them with brawn but I had other ways: “If you go steal two cookies from the kitchen, you can have one of them.”
– I like funny people. I grow weary of mean funny people.
– I live in Seattle.
– I love figuring things out. I can entertain myself for hours trying to figure out how something works.
– I love my country, but I believe integrity should be valued over patriotism.
– I love to eat. I love to cook. I’m much more proficient at the former than the latter.
– I love to have someone else clean up the kitchen after I cook.
– I love to read and I wish I had more time to read.
– I love to take photographs but I really don’t know what I’m doing. Most of the cool photographs I take are really just dumb luck. I’m signing up for a photography class for next quarter.
– I tend to notice things that other people walk right on by. Sometimes this makes me incredibly lucky. Often this makes me easily distracted.
– Drawbridges and other feats of engineering turn me on.
– Even if you were trying to help, I believe that if you are doing something that makes the situation worse or in retrospect turns out to be bad, you should stop doing that thing right now. The same applies for the war in Iraq.
– I am turning into a morning person. I don’t know why that’s happing and quite frankly its scaring the crap out of me.
– I believe democracy is a wonderful form of government, I wish our government would subscribe to it. (Count all the votes.)
– I believe in God
– I believe it should be required for all Americans to learn a second language. It helps you to understand that the world does not revolve around you. It will also help us to catch up with the education standards of the rest of the industrialized world.
– I believe that Obama will be a better president than Hillary; this has nothing to do with her gender. Obama is better at listening and comprehending what people are saying. Better than John McCain, too.
– I believe that travel helps you become a better person because it forces you to re-evaluate assumptions and stereotypes and see the world for what it is.
– I dislike walking on eggshells around people and if I have to do that for any length of time, I am likely to exit the relationship.
– I don’t have a favorite color and every time someone asks my favorite color I give them a different answer. I tell the truth every time. I tell them what my favorite color is at that precise moment; right now it’s turquoise. I’ve learned “What is your favorite color” is a bad prompt for password recovery.
– I don’t like it when people quote scripture at me. William Shakespeare said it best: “The Devil can quote Scripture for his own purpose.” Just because you’re attacking me with verses doesn’t mean you’re not evil.
– I fancy myself a writer, the purpose of this blog is to get myself accustomed to the idea of people actually reading my writing, and having an opinion about what I said.
– I get angry when people make assumptions about what I’m going to say and run with that when I still haven’t even finished the sentence.
– I rarely drink. Not because I’m opposed to it, I just don’t enjoy it when I do drink.
– I really enjoy moments of quiet. I rarely listen to mp3s or CDs; I’d rather have the quiet.
– I recently quit my day job to become a full time student.
– I think we should do away with the electoral party. This was invented at a time when the common man didn’t have the time or inclination to pay attention to politics, and even if he did he had no access to information. Now there is enough information out there for everyone to have access to it, both men and women.
– I used to be a tour guide. “And we’re walking. And we’re walking. And we’re stopping…”
– I value integrity.
– I value our servicemen and women and I feel bad that they have been put in this no win situation. I believe they cannot do their job and protect us from attack if they and all their equipment are trapped in a quagmire on the other side of the world.
– I want to be a mom
– I was blessed to have such awesome parents.
– I was raised in a fundamentalist Baptist church – While I still believe some of what I was taught there, I reject more of it. In particular I reject the assumptions, hate, warmongering, bigotry, xenophobia, fear of learning, and brainwashing, yes I said brainwashing, tactics used by fundamentalist Christian churches.
– If I’m having a chocolate crisis, a Hershey bar will not fix the problem. It’s boring and bleh. That’s not to say I won’t eat the Hershey bar.
– If you tell me to do something I won’t do it, even if I was planning to do it anyways.
– I’m a 37 year old college student and I frequently find myself completely surrounded by 18 year olds. Sometimes that makes me feel young, sometimes that makes me feel very, very old.
– I’m a klutz. I fall down all the time. I usually have at least one bruise.
– I’m a democrat because I believe in small government and long term solutions instead of quick fixes and money/power grabs – figure that one out.
– I’m a slob. My house is always a mess, so if you’re planning to drop by, please give me a call first so I can stuff all the mess into the oven and closets before you get here.
– I’m generally a happy person.
– I’m having a bad hair day. It doesn’t matter what day you read this.
– I’m likely to say something completely inappropriate in a social situation because I don’t know what to say, especially if I’m nervous.
– I’m rebellious.
– I tend to look at the world through the viewfinder of my camera, which means sometimes I have a hyperfocused view that may look quite different from the big picture.
– I’ve been dealing with infertility for four years and now that 40 is staring at me, mocking me actually, I’m starting to get a little freaked out.
– I believe life is too short to spend it around toxic people, even if it’s part of your job. Change your job if you have to in order to get away from them.
– My grandma is 97 years old and she can still command a room; she walks in and everyone turns their heads and hangs on her every word.
– My husband is the most fascinating person I have ever met. It completely turns me on that he can speak to me in Spanish, Tajik, Farsi, and Arabic even though I have absolutely no idea what he’s saying (Ever seen “A Fish Called Wanda?).
– My husband plays bagpipes. (And guitar and he just got a new Persian Tar)
– My twenty year high school reunion is coming up in a year and I’m already freaked out about it. I need to lose a pound a week.
– Sensitive people annoy me. I’m not saying that everyone should be brutish or hewn from stone, but please don’t get your feelings hurt if I occasionally forget that the world revolves around you. I’m just kind of brutish like that.
– Someday I would like to write a cookbook, but I never measure and I can’t follow directions without changing something significant.
– Sometimes I have panic attacks. Sometimes I’m afraid I’m going to have a panic attack. Both situations suck.
– I believe that you should not pledge anything unless you actually understand what you are promising. I have nothing against anyone saying the pledge of allegiance at any time, however I believe forcing children to take an oath of which they have no understanding further degrades the general understanding in this country of what an oath is.
– I believe you should always re-evaluate your stance. There are always opportunities to learn new things. Sometimes new information, or the discovery that someone lied, will reveal the fact that your previous opinion was flawed. There is nothing wrong with correcting yourself when you learn. This is not flip-flopping on the issues. This is being responsible. As such, everything on this list is subject to change.